Sunday, November 15, 2009

Baby, I'm amazed

My good friend Sondra had her baby in October. As a matter of fact, as I was waiting for my luggage in Houston I got the message and wanted to hug total strangers at the airport, I was so excited. (I controlled myself.)

On Saturday, I finally got to meet baby Emily. Another work buddy, Anne (of Pearvana) and I delivered the quilt we'd made for her. We'd hoped to complete it before Emily's arrival, but this way Anne was able to add Emily's birthdate to the label. And, we got to go to Sondra's house, which is out in the country, on a hilltop with a vista that overlooks fields, cattle, and a windbreak of twisty pine trees. She also has a gorgeous sewing studio she and her husband JD created in the second floor of their home. Sondra's a graphic designer, so her house had rich colors and lots of special touches that reflect her visual take on the world.

The quilt gained its inspiration from the farm fabric with the green background (sadly, I no longer have any scraps or selvedge to let you know the name of the fabric). We used the same fabric in black and the backing is the same fabric in green. The combination made me a little nervous, but I think the black fabric and binding kept it from being garish. (And by chance, two of the pink fabrics are designs by my friend Mary Lou Weidman: Crayons and Happy Dots.) The pattern is Shoe Boxes by Terry Atkinson, from her book Time Out Quilts. As we stitched what should have been a very simple quilt on two different machines, I was reminded that while you'd think a quarter-inch would be a standard measurement on any sewing machine, this isn't the case. Some ripping was required.

Sondra says she loves the farm fabrics and the very cute onesie that Anne cleverly adorned with fabric scraps from the quilt. Emily didn't seem impressed by any of the excellent baby that she is, she slept peacefully throughout our visit, except when she stretched and made all those lovely little baby noises.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Under the sea...

When I visited my sister in Virginia in June, I was especially struck by the cheerful curtains she'd made for her bathroom. The tile in the room is white, the walls are an almost electric blue, and the curtains are this wonderful fish fabric: blue and white fish (whose colors include that electric blue) on a sunny yellow background.

She took me to the shop where she'd gotten the fabric and it was a real treat: the fabrics were upholstery and home dec weights, and the prices were very reasonable. (I'm pretty sure the shop is called Second Yard, on Laskin in Virginia Beach.) The shop also had wonderful framed prints and lamps.

My sister gave me the remnants of her curtains and this is what I came up with for her in return.

The pattern is called Three Great Bags, and I'd gotten it when I visited Quilter's Crossing in Madison last spring. The bag's interior fabric was from my stash and the button is a vintage mother-of-pearl number I'd collected somewhere along the way.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Keepin' the clouds away...

I mentioned in a previous post that after Kaffe Fasset and I put our heads together on a design detail I felt so elated I bought an umbrella adorned with one of his prints. Because Iowa just had the wettest October on record for 100 years, I had ample opportunity to use it.

When I bought it, it seemed to me a springtime print, just the thing for lifting my mood on grey March days. But the first time Pearl and I took an afternoon walk beneath it, I realized it was perfect for an autumn day: the colors echoed the changing leaves and magnified the beauty of a stroll around my block, even on a cloudy, wet day. I took Pearl home and got my camera and captured a few shots of the view of my neighborhood, from under my umbrella.

A reader asked where to find such an umbrella. I was fortunate to find it at the Westminster/Free Spirit booth at Quilt Market. Here's a link to the umbrella on their site. They've also got lists of vendors, although don't specify who is carrying the umbrellas—guess you might have to call around (or visit a lot of fabric shops. Now that would be a hardship, wouldn't it?)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ball Point

Okay, so this is a stretch for a blog about textiles... wait... a stretch... get it?

In Monday's New York Times was a story about a Florida man who has a rubber band ball 25 feet in circumference. He put it together to beat a Ripley's Believe It or Not record. Now the Ripley's museum has bought it from him and taken it away. Apparently the neighbors were sad to see it go. It sat out in the front yard and was a distinctive landmark. I love those neighbors! Most people would just think it was an eyesore.

I started my rubber band ball more than 10 years, with no intention other than to get rubber bands off the counter after the morning paper hit the front porch. I've slacked off in the past two years, as it's gotten harder to obtain rubber bands big enough to stretch around the ball. The larger of the two is nearly two-and-a half feet in circumference and 12 pounds. The house shakes if I try to bounce it. The smaller (dubbed The Sidekick) is 18 inches around and 3.4 lbs. When I started, I made a rule that I would never buy rubber bands for the ball, but could only find or be given them. Some young men might win a mother's trust by bringing flowers or cookies when they took her daughter on a date: my daughter's beaus brought me rubber bands.

Sadly, the larger of the balls is starting to dry out and the rubber bands are breaking. But it's also gotten so heavy that lifting it to put on the bands is a workout in and of itself.